Today, I had taken time off work because the previous day I was coming down with the flu. Today my situation was a little worse with a small fever, and generally not well. Alhamdulillah, if we take time off we still get paid statutory sick pay. However, the employer’s criteria is a little vague, and state you should make every effort to come to work, and you should only not come if you feel you’re unable to. I ask myself the question because I know lying is haram in Islam, and although I was not dishonest about my condition, I’m persuaded I could’ve gone into work, but it would’ve been a struggle especially with my flu. I work in a call centre where we take 30-50 on average calls a day from customers, and with the flu it can be quite distressing/frustrating. My employer doesn’t have an exact list as to which, sick/illness would be acceptable for an employee to take time off work, nor is every sick absence physically checked.
My manager said to me when I called he would make my work still la bit easy, but I just said, I’ll review my condition in the afternoon, and if I feel better I’ll come, but I didn’t have any intention to come, but wanted to take it easy as I was equally tired.
Bearing in mind the above is it halal to accept the salary I am paid on the day of sick absence?


Bismillahi Ta'ala

Assalamu alaikum warahmatullahi wabrakatuh,

Health matters are either of benefit or harm to the surrounding work environment. In a workplace, a good healthy worker is beneficial for the workforce as well as to the co-workers; while at the same time a sick worker reduces the progress as well as puts other workers in potential risk for similar sickness. This is more so when the sickness is infectious. While the employer establishes his guidelines for you to call in sick, on a broader scale your decision may warrant an overarching re-consideration from Public Health point-of-view. 

As such, these discussions are covered under "Employment Standards Act, 2000" which warrants the employees to take personal emergency leave for cases of sickness, illness, injury etc. (1) As for the question of whether there are legal guidelines for the discretion on taking such leave, you may read the CBC's article here :

As for the shar'i perspective, you are governed by the legal laws over and above your employer's dictates. Should the employer deem you to be fit, while the legal guideline affords you the leeway of taking a sick leave, you may apply the legal leeways. However keep in mind that the legal standards do not necessitate the employer to provide you a paid-sick leave. If the employment contract gives you this facility, then the earnings acquired will be permissible for you.

At the same time, if you do not fulfil the legal guidelines of sickness, then claiming sick-leave will be deemed impermissible according to Shari'ah and the income earned will be impermissible for you.  

And Allah Ta'ala Knows best,

Wassalamu `alaykum, 
Mufti Faisal al-Mahmudi


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